Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 8
The sound suit's my style great which is prog rock, prog metal, and any other equally pretensious form of music (excluding jazz). I'm using it with a Vox Valvetronix 15 watt (great amp) and between the two I've been able to get any sound out of it with the sole exception of british invasion era rock. With my amp the extent of the gain apears to be around the level for 80's thrash which is of course considerable, but you would probably need a distortion pedal or different amp for death or black metal. Also with the addition of the coil tap in my arsenal I can get very good clean tones and limited twang (think Strat not Gretsch). The pickups being covered are very quite.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall as guitar freak I can say confidently that this is one of the best guitars out there for the price ( and way better the EX-260, better wood). I stolen I would probably upgade to the FX 400 which has grover tuners and active EMGs (and at the time of my review has had the price at Sam Ash knocked down to being only $30 more than mine was -SOB-) but really it's an awesome guitar with a unique look, get it.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar is extremely durable, that being one of the reasons I got it. As stated it's all mahognay very thick (and admittedly heavy 10 lbs). I'm not at a skill level where I'm playing Live, but I can guarentee that it would last, and I would use it without backup, if it werent for alternate tunings. The strap buttons are decent as long as youve got an ok strap, though I know from experience that you can drop it on almost anything with little or no damage (got some thin scratches on the horn of mine). The finish of the hardware is the only part I'd really be worried about not lasting.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar had, I suspect, been adjusted at the sam Ash, and the action was very good with exception of some minor fret buzz on the 1rst fret of the E string, 3 minutes and a screw diver fixed that. The pickups were set up perfect no complaints there, no real flaws on the set up or anything else.
Features — 9
I got my guitar in summer of 08, I don't know what year it was made, but it was made in indonesia. It's got a mahogany body and neck, the body having a spalted maple finish (kickass) and being in the ESP "sharpened Explorer" style. The neck is 3 piece "u contour" set neck. It has 22 frets on a rosewood fingerboard with Dot inlays on the board and on the side of the neck. A couple nice features are the unique pointy headstock, with ESP was generous enough to give the same spalted maple finish as the body. The hardware is black nickel, which I can best describe as "black chrome" and since getting this guitar is my favorite option for hardware. The bridge is a tune-o-matic, which is comfortable but, the finish is thin and beginning to wear off on mine. The pickups are passive "EMG ESP 301s" which are quite good for the price, but not capable of the stupid-high-gain that thier active counterparts are. And lastly the guitar has a 3 way pickup selector, 1 volume and 1 tone with a push-pull coil tap on the tone, which is very handy. No accessories. Only thing I wouldve liked would be locking tuners as it will detune with any sizable change in temperature.